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"Road rage" driver pleads guilty to causing death of cycling campaigner John Radford

Victim died 16 months after incident in what may be first case of its kind involving a cyclist

A man has pleaded guilty to causing the death through dangerous driving of cycling campaigner John Radford in a case that is particularly unusual due to the time – 16 months – that elapsed between the collision that caused the fatal injuries and the death of the victim.

In October last year, Michael Gledhill, aged 24 and from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, was found guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court of causing serious injury through dangerous driving to John Radford, chairman of Huddersfield & District Cyclists.

He represented Yorkshire on charity CTC's national council, and was instrumental in bringing the organisation's Road Justice campaign to the attention of local police and crime commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson

At that trial, prosecutors said the motorist had succumbed to “road rage” following an altercation in July 2013 with the cyclist, aged 69 at the time, who was left brain damaged and in a wheelchair as a result of his injuries.

– "Road rage" driver who left cyclist brain damaged found guilty by jury

Sadly, Mr Radford died from his injuries shortly after the trial and as a result of his death West Yorkshire Police referred the case back to the Crown Prosecution Service to examine whether fresh charges could be brought.

– Driver who hit John Radford may face further charges

Until a reform of the law in 1996, that would have been impossible due to what was known as the “year and a day rule.”

Under that longstanding common law principle, a person causing someone’s death could not be charged in relation to it if 366 days or more had elapsed between the incident giving that ultimately led to the fatality and the victim’s death.

It was scrapped under the Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996 partly as a result of advances in medical science that nowadays enable medical staff to keep victims of crime alive well beyond that threshold.

As far as we are aware, this is the first case involving a cyclist that has resulted in a conviction under that legislation.

Gledhill will be sentenced on 12 January, reports BBC News.

- Over 400 turn out to remember and celebrate John Radford (+ video)

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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11 comments

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Bez | 8 years ago
0 likes

"well defined statutory charge"

I broadly agree with the overall point you make, but IMO the statute for this offence (and careless driving, which has an almost identical definition) is woefully poorly defined, and this manifests itself as a failure to convict in a great many cases.

I'm not overly familiar with the case, but from the reports available it seems that a charge of GBH could easily have been pursued (it's succeeded in multiple similar cases), unless the apparent evidence of intent genuinely only arose under questioning in court.

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OldRidgeback | 8 years ago
0 likes

You would think that the sentence should in theory at least be similar to one for a manslaughter charge.

 

Here's a rather depressing bit of perspective on the UK's record on fines for motorists:

https://beyondthekerb.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/fines.png

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Jacobi | 8 years ago
8 likes

It's well past time they started protecting cyclists from nut-job drivers in order to deter them from treating us like road litter. They need to stop using the statutory law charge of dangerous driving and start using the common law charge of manslaughter.

If I was stupid enough to discharge a firearm on a road and killed a cyclist I wouldn't be charged with dangerous shooting I would be charged with manslaughter and probably be sentenced to several years.  Yet I can get behind the wheel of a car, drive aggressively, mow down a cyclist, claim I lost concetration and, if I'm unlucky, get a suspended sentence and a few years driving ban.

I once watched a trial where a man was sentenced to three years for poaching salmon from Lord So and So's estate. He'd have got less for running over a cyclist. The laws/judges in this country really are deplorable, and most certainly do not protect us.

Avatar
Airzound replied to Jacobi | 8 years ago
4 likes
Jacobi wrote:

It's well past time they started protecting cyclists from nut-job drivers in order to deter them from treating us like road litter. They need to stop using the statutory law charge of dangerous driving and start using the common law charge of manslaughter.

If I was stupid enough to discharge a firearm on a road and killed a cyclist I wouldn't be charged with dangerous shooting I would be charged with manslaughter and probably be sentenced to several years.  Yet I can get behind the wheel of a car, drive aggressively, mow down a cyclist, claim I lost concetration and, if I'm unlucky, get a suspended sentence and a few years driving ban.

I once watched a trial where a man was sentenced to three years for poaching salmon from Lord So and So's estate. He'd have got less for running over a cyclist. The laws/judges in this country really are deplorable, and most certainly do not protect us.

 

The law isn't about protecting cyclists who are victims through no fault of their own or indeed any other vulnerable victim, but protecting the public purse, property (of the rich) and the Establishment. The only judge who ever challenged this was Lord Denning who sadly is long dead and who was a champion for interpreting the law with respect for  the underdog typically the claimant or victim against oppressive or inadequate law.

 

I predict yet another pathetically lenient sentence in this case. The driver should get 20 years in jail and be banned from driving for life. Should he eventually be released then he should be electronically tagged so should he feel like driving again as most scum like this feel like doing, driving whilst disqualified, then he can hopefully be rapidly apprehended and slung back in jail.

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oozaveared replied to Jacobi | 8 years ago
1 like
Jacobi wrote:

They need to stop using the statutory law charge of dangerous driving and start using the common law charge of manslaughter.

More drivers would be acquitted because there are more defences to a general common law charge than there are for a specific and well defined statutory charge.  For manslaughter you could just claim it was a terrible accident with no intent on your part.  The statutory charge lays out the responsibilities of the driver and defines the standard of driving they fell below for the various level of charge. 

I agree that it would be good to get more convictions for death by dangerous rather than death by careless driving and the Police and CPS could be far more aggressive. But going back to more vague and easier to beat charges which have more defences and are not designed for specific purposes will have the opposite effect.

 

 

 

Avatar
Kestevan | 8 years ago
5 likes

Should have been charged with murder.  As it is he will be "credited" for pleading guilty (despite the fact he pleaded not guilty the first time), slapped on the wrist and will probably serve a minimal sentence.

The thing that really scares me though is that in a very few years this aggressive prick will be back behind the wheel on roads used by my wife and kids.....he should be banned for life but we all know he won't be.

Avatar
HalfWheeler | 8 years ago
1 like

Incidentally, not one mention of this in the Dail Mail.

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oldstrath | 8 years ago
14 likes

Meanwhile a woman who apparently  conned her (not awesomely  bright?) pal into having  sex by pretending  to be a man gets an 8 year sentence. Anyone prepared to expect a higher sentence for killing someone?

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The goat replied to oldstrath | 8 years ago
2 likes
oldstrath wrote:

Meanwhile a woman who apparently  conned her (not awesomely  bright?) pal into having  sex by pretending  to be a man gets an 8 year sentence. Anyone prepared to expect a higher sentence for killing someone?

Certainly not if he suddenly find God.

Avatar
brooksby replied to The goat | 8 years ago
3 likes
The goat wrote:
oldstrath wrote:

Meanwhile a woman who apparently  conned her (not awesomely  bright?) pal into having  sex by pretending  to be a man gets an 8 year sentence. Anyone prepared to expect a higher sentence for killing someone?

Certainly not if he suddenly find God.

Why, did someone lose Him?

 

Avatar
HalfWheeler | 8 years ago
1 like

I'll keep my powder dry until sentencing. I'm not hopeful though...

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